As a kid, I distinctly remember being reprimanded for tiny mistakes like scooping into the Bournvita jar when mom was asleep (back then I thought it was quite tiny). Elders, I believed, simply over-reacted, while another instance of getting rewarded for running behind a pedestrian and returning his ten-rupee note that he unknowingly dropped, was just weird. After all, it was just ten rupees. This behaviour of the elders kept confusing and intriguing me throughout my early childhood days. For me ‘Honesty is the best policy’, ‘Respect the elders’, ‘Treat everyone with equality, etc. were merely lines to be written on the school blackboard by the class monitor as ‘Thought of the Day’ while flaunting her monitor badge. Of course, subjects like moral science were introduced as mandatory subjects and learning the difference between right and wrong formed the very foundation of our primary education. Interestingly, I was hammered with these lessons through various sources and times. However, the realisation that they could have a deeper meaning and be used in my adulthood was hardly understood.
Our environment, upbringing, and education form the very guideline for us to lead our lives. These are termed as Values. Values are derived from virtues through our actions and are reflected in our behaviour. We have witnessed that good virtues are promoted through various cultures, scriptures and epics. It is prescribed to follow these virtues and values for us to remain within the framework of morality. Many events in mythology are dedicated to the learnings through the adoption of right values and virtues in one’s life. Undoubtedly, this impacts the way we think, conduct ourselves and the decisions we make. Our ability to choose or make the right decisions determines the ‘Happiness Quotient’ (a term quite in vogue these days) in our lives.
Entering the corporate world allowed me to further amplify my beliefs around the values. At my first interview as a fresh Management Graduate, at a Fortune 500 company, I was interviewed by the VP – HR in a swanky office. An artistically embossed frame hung behind his chair that read a set of statements which reminded me of my school blackboard, the thought of the day, and my class monitor. Somehow, the moment I read it, I immediately felt quite connected to it. Those were the set of organisational core values and were displayed as an important and prominent piece in that room set-up. The interview with the VP – HR revolved around my upbringing, thoughts, opinions, probable responses to situations, my beliefs, principles and personal values. The organisational context around values starting getting crystallised. Over the years as I started building HR / People function set-ups for various organisations, the strong and inseparable relationship between the core -values of the organisation, the people philosophy, and culture got more and more emphatic. Practising these values and making it a way of life in organisations, certainly does not come very easy. Few organisations mean well and believe in them, however, those weak moments do take-over decisions and reflect in actions. After all, it boils down to our ability to make those decisions.
At Nitor Infotech, I have spent over a decade now and have had the opportunity to architect the People Function from scratch. Our Core Values of Respect & Care, Integrity, Customer Delight & Excellence are not a mere frame on the wall. Our leaders demonstrate that through their actions at all times. Our People Agenda revolves around connection, communication, care, wellness, appreciation, and celebration. Our decisions and actions reflect the right thing even in the toughest of times, I have personally witnessed a lucrative business slip of hands, just because we refused to take a convenient path. Customer centricity remaining at the focal point, we strive for excellence and that is embedded in our processes, practices and people’s mind-set. Our interview process, development initiatives and engagement landscape are all designed with a focus on our core – values. We onboard people with a fair alignment to our core-values and develop leaders who could become a good example for their teams, while championing our Culture. This culture allows us to exercise an open culture of trust, camaraderie, and collaboration- an essential trio for any business to grow and flourish.
I am extremely lucky to have been brought up in an environment where values or sanskaras (in Sanskrit) were of prime importance. I also got associated with organisations and senior leaders who exemplified a robust value system themselves. As a result, it started creating a distinction for myself in the various walks of life. It also, left me with more satisfaction and fulfilment. On the flip side, it did create some short-term pain and suffering. There certainly were occasions where the temptation of taking a shorter and more convenient route against the long and difficult one was quite strong. These are the real testing times of your values. If you are standing on that strong, rock solid foundation, you will lead yourself to the right path. However difficult the situation maybe you would end up doing the right thing. I read an interview of a top banking leader, where he said that my values are the cushion on which I sleep peacefully every night. The thought deeply resonates with me.
This was my small attempt to share with you how our foundational stones of value system get build, at least in my case, would love to hear your story and experiences.
It is evident that Values make for the foundation of a person as well as an organization. So Stay Safe, Stay Happy, and Stay True to Your Values.
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